A Catholic’s Prayer on Reformation Day

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Via Catholicism.org:

O Mary, Mother of mercy and Refuge of sinners, we beseech thee, be pleased to look with pitiful eyes upon poor heretics and schismatics. Thou who art the Seat of Wisdom, enlighten the minds that are miserably enfolded in the darkness of ignorance and sin, that they may clearly know that the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Roman Church is the one true Church of Jesus Christ, outside of which neither holiness nor salvation can be found. Finish the work of their conversion by obtaining for them the grace to accept all the truths of our Holy Faith, and to submit themselves to the supreme Roman Pontiff, the Vicar of Jesus Christ on earth; that so, being united with us in the sweet chains of divine charity, there may soon be only one fold under the same one shepherd; and may we all, O glorious Virgin, sing forever with exultation: Rejoice, O Virgin Mary, thou only hast destroyed all heresies in the whole world. Amen.

Here’s what Francis J. Beckwith wrote in 2010:

Since returning to the Catholic Church in late April 2007, I find Reformation Day has taken on a different meaning than when I stood on the other side of the Tiber. Nevertheless, even as a Protestant, my enthusiasm for October 31 never rose higher than modest appreciation for what I thought were Luther’s, and later Calvin’s, significant contributions in helping Western Christians to retrieve what had been lost. I say “modest appreciation,” since it always seemed to me rather unseemly to get too excited about schism and mutual charges of apostasy and heresy. It would be like celebrating the tenth anniversary of your divorce. You may think that the divorce was a good idea, but not because you think divorce itself is the proper end of a marriage.

Luther himself, though excommunicated, never saw his movement as anything more than a renewal movement within the Church. We, of course, know now that the movement he started had a life of its own, resulting in scores of different and often conflicting understandings of Scripture, sacrament, and Church, and each finding something in Christianity’s traditions to challenge.

More from Beckwith:

It is not surprising, then, why it is sometimes difficult for both Protestants and Catholics to think of ecclesial unity as the proper state of Christ’s Church. Because we are modern people, we tend to think of the Church as a collection of individual choosers, each with his own autonomy that may not legitimately be subject to something outside itself without good reason. That is, we assume that the burden of proving the necessity of ecclesial unity is not on the individual believer, but rather on the corporate entity that demands his allegiance. The Church, in that sense, becomes the enemy of faith, an unwelcome intruder into the believer’s pious solitude. For the modern mind, it would be like the commodity choosing the buyer, since religion, like sex and commerce, is just another act between consenting adults, which by implication makes the authority of creeds the doctrinal equivalent of annoying chaperones.

Ironically, this sort of mindset, which sees schism as proper and unity as unnatural, is one of the conceptual catalysts that helped lead me back to the Catholic Church. For I began to see that the whole idea of theology as something that is mine to choose – like a pair of slacks that I can have tailored for my own specifications – was precisely the problem. As long as “Church” was something that was under me rather than me under it, I was doomed to a life of ecclesiastical promiscuity despite my best efforts to practice safe sects.

Baltimore, DC named to Top 10 Cities for rats

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Fast Company

Earlier this month, the pest control company Orkin released a ranking of the top rattiest cities–the places that sent out the most rodent-elimination requests in the year 2013. Here are the top 10 winners:

Chicago
Los Angeles
Washington, D.C.-Hagerstown
New York
San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose
Seattle-Tacoma
Detroit
Cleveland-Akron-Canton
Baltimore
Miami-Ft. Lauderdale
Rats are well-suited to carry lots of different diseases that are harmful to humans. Hantavirus, the bubonic plague, and Leptospirosis (a disease causing liver damage) are just a few. Some research suggests that rat infestation problems could be worsened by climate change, as rats tend to breed in warmer and wetter weather. If rising sea levels mean increased flooding, that could mean more ideal habitats for rats to raise families.

Of course this is only counting rats with four legs or DC would likely rank at the top. Earlier this year, Baltimore ranked 3rd internationally for rats in an Animal Planet ranking.

New ad hits Anthony Brown (and Martin O’Malley) over taxes

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The new ad, by the Republican Governors Association (RGA) hits Anthony Brown, and Martin O’Malley, for all the tax and fee increases during their administration. It also refers to Anthony Brown as “The second string for O’Malley’s third high tax term.”

Here’s the ad:

Desperate Democrats Play Race Card in Maryland

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(Via the Maryland Daily Record)

Democrats have already sent racially-tinged mail in Georgia and North Carolina that evoked lynchings and the specter of Michael Brown’s death. Now they’ve sent the above mailer targeting Black voters in Charles and Princes George’s County.

Bryan Sears has more at The Daily Record:

The glossy mailings, sent out in the days before the beginning of early voting, target black voters in key areas in support of Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown. Samples obtained by The Daily Record were sent to voters in Charles and Prince George’s Counties.

“They’ve placed a lot of roadblocks in our path at every turn,” reads the flier over segregationist images from the Civil Rights era as well as more recent photos relating to voter ID laws and real estate mogul Donald Trump and his views on President Barack Obama’s birth certificate.

[…]

In addition to the message that evokes racial tension, the mailing urges voters to come out for the early voting period and reminds voters that Brown would be the first black governor in Maryland history—a designation from which Brown has shied away.

Sears also reports no one at the Maryland Democratic Party would comment.

Sears also talked to two political observers about the mailer:

Political observers say the mailings are yet another sign that the race for governor between Brown, the Democrat, and Republican Larry Hogan is closer than the Democratic Party would like.

“I’m not saying they’re scared but the race is definitely tighter,” said John Bullock, assistant professor of political science at Towson University.

Bullock added that the mailing attempts to paint Hogan in a racially derogatory light without using his name or image.

“It doesn’t specifically say Hogan is this person but it definitely goes there,” Bullock said. “It’s making a direct appeal to race and clearly targeting black voters.”

[…]

Todd Eberly, a political science professor at St. Mary’s College, said the mailing is similar to others in North Carolina and in Georgia that highlight racial division to evoke emotional responses in order to turn out black voters.

“This mailing really seems to suggest that some people in Maryland want to take someone else’s rights away,” Eberly said. It’s not a claim that can be substantiated nor defended.”

“The implied ‘they’ has to be Republicans—who else can it be?” Eberly said. “If this is what the Democratic Party has to do to get people to vote then they should probably take a look at themselves in the mirror and ask themselves why they don’t have a positive message to get people to the polls.”

Democrats packed a gym in Prince George’s County Sunday to see President Obama but news reports indicated they weren’t that excited about the Brown campaign. In fact, many of them left during the middle of Obama’s speech. Instead of admitting people left, they tried spinning it in various directions and it blew up in their face.

The fact the Democrats only have this tactic to go to right now shows the race is tighter than they expected and all their other attack ads aren’t work as well as they’d hoped. It’s a desperate tactic whether the situation is desperate for them or not.

Maryland Catholics, Voting, and Abortion

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I recently wrote this piece for a newsletter for the Knights of Columbus Council I am a member of (and Culture of Life Committee co-chairman.)

November 4 is Election Day and here in Maryland we will go to the polls to vote for state and local officials as well as members of Congress. As Saint John Paul II noted, the right to life is “the first right, on which all the others are based, and which cannot be recuperated once it is lost.”

In the document A Brief Catechism for Catholic Voters, Fr. Stephen F. Torraco, PhD wrote that voting for a pro-abortion candidate is a mortal sin. Fr. Torraco also wrote that voting for a candidate who cites personal opposition to abortion while still voting for it would make the voter “an accomplice in advancing the moral evil of abortion.”

When none of the candidates for a particular office are completely pro-life, it’s necessary to choose the candidate that will do the most to promote a culture of life. There are many incremental steps that can be taken in Maryland to advance the pro-life cause.  Otherwise, Maryland will continue to be a state where minors have to get parental consent to go to a tanning bed, but not to kill their unborn child.

Another positive step that could be taken in the executive branch of state government would be for a new governor to order the state’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to keep track of the number of abortions performed in Maryland every year. Those statistics have not been calculated since the current governor took office.

When pro-life Catholics vote based on the principles of their faith, they help elect government officials who will respect their wishes and start the ball rolling on incremental change that will ultimately lead to big changes.

As the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops wrote in Living the Gospel of Life, “[t]he Gospel of Life must be proclaimed, and human life defended, in all places and all times.  The arena for moral responsibility includes not only the halls of government, but the voting booth as well.”

Besides voting, we need to continue to pray for our elected officials at the federal, state, and local levels. We need to be especially sure to pray for the ones who are pro-abortion – that their hearts may be changed on the issue.

For more information on candidates and their views, visit the Maryland Right to Life website and the website of the Maryland Catholic Conference.